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Diacylglycerol Oil

Scientific Name(s): Diacylglycerol oil
Common Name(s): DAG oil, Enova, Healthy Econa

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jul 7, 2021.

Clinical Overview


Clinical trials have focused on the use of diacylglycerol (DAG) oil as adjunctive therapy for weight loss and body fat reduction, especially in metabolic syndrome. However, few quality, independent clinical trials have been conducted, with the majority of published clinical trials conducted by the Kao Corporation, primarily in Japanese populations.


DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages.


Contraindications have not yet been identified.


Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.


None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Clinical trials have reported few or no adverse effects.


Chronic rat toxicity studies have revealed no treatment-related effects of DAG oil consumption at levels of up to 5.5% of the diet. No evidence of gene mutation or genotoxic potential has been demonstrated in Ames mutation tests.


DAG oil was developed in Japan and launched in February 1999 by Kao Corporation as Healthy Econa cooking oil and is now widely used for cooking and salad oil in Japan. Kao Corporation has since introduced DAG in other products, such as mayonnaise, margarine, and canned tuna.Hunter 2002, Yanai 2007

In 2000, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Kao and its partner, Archer Daniels Midland Company, "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS) status for their DAG oil product. In the United States, DAG oil is commercially available as Enova oil and may be used in home cooking and vegetable oil spreads.Final Report 2007


DAG oil is made from the esterification of fatty acids originating from natural edible plant oils, such as soybean and rapeseed oils.Final Report 2007, Umemura 2008, Yanai 2007 DAG oil contains only 2 fatty acids and, therefore, has metabolic characteristics distinct from those of conventional triacylglycerol (TAG) oils containing 3 fatty acids.Tada 2003 DAG oil is more hydrophilic and water soluble when synthesized enzymatically with the reverse reaction of 1,3-specific lipase.Matsuo 2001, Tada 2003, Yanai 2007 Standardized DAG oil contains 1,2-DAG and 1,3-DAG in a 3:7 ratio.Final Report 2007

The proposed mechanism of action involves the main digestive product of DAG oil, 1- (or 3-)monoacylglycerol, which is poorly re-esterified into TAG in the small intestinal mucosa.Yanai 2007

Uses and Pharmacology

The majority of published clinical trials have been conducted by the Kao Corporation, primarily among Japanese populations. The design of some of the trials also limits the strength of the findings. Issues present in some of the trials were that they were open-label and single-blind, small sample size with post-hoc subgroup analysis, and inadequate randomization as evidenced by differences in the study groups at onset of the study.

Few quality, independent clinical trials conducted in American populations are available in the literature.Reyes 2008

Metabolic Syndrome

The majority of studies report the effect of DAG oil consumption on reducing increases in postprandial triglyceride serum levels, especially among insulin-resistant and high body mass index populations.Ai 2007, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yanai 2007 Positive changes in certain lipid components, such as remnant-like lipoprotein particle triglycerides, remnant-like lipoprotein particle cholesterol, and chylomicron triglyceride, are reported.Taguchi 2000, Yamamoto 2001 Limited data exist showing a positive effect on glucose metabolismLi 2008, Takase 2005, Yanai 2007 while some trials have shown decreases in body weight with long-term consumption.Ai 2007, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2006

However, no difference was found for lipid profiles or glucose and insulin metabolism in some of the trials after 12 weeks and after 1 year of consumption of DAG oil versus TAG oil.Hunter 2002, Li 2008, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006 A meta-analysis of clinical trials through 2007 reported reduced posYamamoto 2001andial (at 2 to 6 hours) triacylglycerol concentrations with DAG oil consumption and suggested a positive correlation with dosage.Xu 2009

In a small (n = 25) crossover study among insulin-resistant participants in the United States, 5 weeks of a DAG oil–enriched diet had no effect on postprandial plasma triglycerides versus TAG oil, and fasting and postprandial glucose and insulin levels were unaffected.Reyes 2008 Some effect in reducing adiposity has been suggested.Yuan 2010


DAG oil has been used in clinical trials as replacement for usual consumption of cooking oil, as well as at a variety of fixed daily dosages ranging from 10 g per 60 kg body weight to 0.5 g/kg body weight.Ai 2007, Hibi 2008, Kawashima 2008, Li 2008, Maki 2002, Nagao 2000, Reyes 2008, Taguchi 2000, Takase 2005, Takeshita 2008, Yamamoto 2006, Yamamoto 2001, Yamamoto 2006, Yasunaga 2004

Pregnancy / Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking. Experiments in rats have shown no adverse fetal/embryonic effects.Morita 2008, Morita 2008


None well documented. DAG oil reportedly does not affect the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, or K.Tada 2003

Adverse Reactions

Clinical trials report no adverse effects.Meguro 2007, Yasunaga 2004


1,2-DAG has the potential to activate protein kinase C, an enzyme reportedly involved in tumor promotion activity, and topical application of DAG oil in mice has been reported to increase the incidence of skin carcinomas, leading to concerns regarding the safety of the oil.Final Report 2003, Meguro 2007 However, experiments in rats have failed to demonstrate increased oral cancers, and no difference in protein kinase C activity for DAG oil compared with TAG oil was demonstrated.Final Report 2007, Meguro 2007 It is likely that rapid metabolism of DAG, which reaches the interior of the cell quickly, reverses any protein kinase C activation. Tumor-promoting phorbol esters, on the other hand, are not rapidly metabolized and, therefore, cause persistent protein kinase C activation.

Chronic rat toxicity studies have revealed no treatment-related effects of DAG oil consumption at levels of up to 5.5% of the dietChengelis 2006, Ichihara 2008, Soni 2001 (although an anomaly in the findings was noted in one experiment at a lower dosageIchihara 2008). The safety profile of heated DAG oil was found to be the same as that for unheated DAG oil in an experiment in rats.Morita 2008 No evidence of gene mutation or genotoxic potential was demonstrated in Salmonella typhimurium or Escherichia coli Ames mutation tests.Final Report 2007


Ai M, Tanaka A, Shoji K, et al. Suppressive effects of diacylglycerol oil on postprandial hyperlipidemia in insulin resistance and glucose intolerance. Atherosclerosis. 2007;195(2):398-403.17125771
Amended final report on the safety assessment of glyceryl dilaurate, glyceryl diarachidate, glyceryl dibehenate, glyceryl dierucate, glyceryl dihydroxystearate, glyceryl diisopalmitate, glyceryl diisostearate, glyceryl dilinoleate, glyceryl dimyristate, glyceryl dioleate, glyceryl diricinoleate, glyceryl dipalmitate, glyceryl dipalmitoleate, glyceryl distearate, glyceryl palmitate lactate, glyceryl stearate citrate, glyceryl stearate lactate, and glyceryl stearate succinate. Int J Toxicol. 2007;26(suppl 3):1-30.18273450
Chengelis CP, Kirkpatrick JB, Bruner RH, et al. A 24-month dietary carcinogenicity study of DAG (diacylglycerol) in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2006;44(1):98-121.16084639
Hibi M, Takase H, Yasunaga K, et al. Fat utilization in healthy subjects consuming diacylglycerol oil diet: dietary and whole body fat oxidation. Lipids. 2008;43(6):517-524.18408958
Hunter BT. Recent findings about oils. Consum Res Mag. 2002;85:8-9.
Ichihara T, Yoshino H, Doi Y, et al. No enhancing effects of diacylglycerol oil on tumor development in a medium-term multi-organ carcinogenesis bioassay using male F344 rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(1):157-167.17728035
Kawashima H, Takase H, Yasunaga K, et al. One-year ad libitum consumption of diacylglycerol oil as part of a regular diet results in modest weight loss in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil in overweight Japanese subjects. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008;108(1):57-66.18155990
Li D, Xu T, Takase H, et al. Diacylglycerol-induced improvement of whole-body insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a long-term randomized, double-blind controlled study. Clin Nutr. 2008;27(2):203-211.18314230
Maki KC, Davidson MH, Tsushima R, et al. Consumption of diacylglycerol oil as part of a reduced-energy diet enhances loss of body weight and fat in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil. Am J Clin Nutr. 2002;76(6):1230-1236.12450887
Matsuo N. Diacylglycerol oil: an edible oil with less accumulation of body fat. Lipid Tech. 2001;13(5):129-133.
Meguro S, Osaki N, Onizawa K, et al. Comparison of dietary triacylglycerol oil and diacylglycerol oil in protein kinase C activation. Food Chem Toxicol. 2007;45(7):1165-1172.17306914
Morita O, Knapp JF, Tamaki Y, Nemec MD, Varsho BJ, Stump DG. Safety assessment of dietary diacylglycerol oil: a two-generation reproductive toxicity study in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(9):3059-3068.18619512
Morita O, Knapp JF, Tamaki Y, Varsho BJ, Stump DG, Nemec MD. Effects of dietary diacylglycerol oil on embryo/fetal development in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(7):2510-2516.18502554
Morita O, Tamaki Y, Kirkpatrick JB, Chengelis CP. Safety assessment of heated diacylglycerol oil: subchronic toxicity study in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(8):2748-2757.18550248
Nagao T, Watanabe H, Goto N, et al. Dietary diacylglycerol suppresses accumulation of body fat compared to triacylglycerol in men in a double-blind controlled trial. J Nutr. 2000;130(4):792-797.10736331
Reyes G, Yasunaga K, Rothenstein E, et al. Effects of a 1,3-diacylglycerol oil-enriched diet on postprandial lipemia in people with insulin resistance. J Lipid Res. 2008;49(3):670-678.18089891
Soni MG, Kimura H, Burdock GA. Chronic study of diacylglycerol oil in rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2001;39(4):317-329.11295479
Tada N, Yoshida H. Diacylglycerol on lipid metabolism. Curr Opin Lipido. 2003;14(1):29-33.12544658
Taguchi H, Watanabe H, Onizawa K, et al. Double-blind controlled study on the effects of dietary diacylglycerol on postprandial serum and chylomicron triacylglycerol responses in healthy humans. J Am Coll Nutr. 2000;19(6):789-796.11194533
Takase H, Shoji K, Hase T, Tokimitsu I. Effect of diacylglycerol on postprandial lipid metabolism in non-diabetic subjects with and without insulin resistance. Atherosclerosis. 2005;180(1):197-204.15823293
Takeshita M, Katsuragi Y, Kusuhara M, et al. Phytosterols dissolved in diacylglycerol oil reinforce the cholesterol-lowering effect of low-dose pravastatin treatment. Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis. 2008;18(7):483-491.17964767
Umemura T, Maeda M, Kijima A, et al. Lack of promotion activity of diacylglycerol oil on 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide induced carcinogenesis in the oral cavity of SD rats. Food Chem Toxicol. 2008;46(9):3206-3212.18694799
Xu T, Li X, Ma X, et al. Effect of diacylglycerol on postprandial serum triacylglycerol concentration: a meta-analysis. Lipids. 2009;44(2):161-168.18989717
Yamamoto K, Asakawa H, Tokunaga K, et al. Long-term ingestion of dietary diacylglycerol lowers serum triacylglycerol in type II diabetic patients with hypertriglyceridemia. J Nutr. 2001;131(12):3204-3207.11739866
Yamamoto K, Takeshita M, Tokimitsu I, et al. Diacylglycerol oil ingestion in type 2 diabetic patients with hypertriglyceridemia [published correction in Nutrition. 2006;22(3):343]. Nutrition. 2006;22(1):23-29.16289977
Yamamoto K, Tomonobu K, Asakawa H, et al. Diet therapy with diacylglycerol oil delays the progression of renal failure in type 2 diabetic patients with nephropathy. Diabetes Care. 2006;29(2):417-419.16443898
Yanai H, Tomono Y, Ito K, Furutani N, Yoshida H, Tada N. Diacylglycerol oil for the metabolic syndrome. Nutr J. 2007;6:43.18072966
Yasunaga K, Glinsmann WH, Seo Y, et al. Safety aspects regarding the consumption of high-dose dietary diacylglycerol oil in men and women in a double-blind controlled trial in comparison with consumption of a triacylglycerol control oil. Food Chem Toxicol. 2004;42(9):1419-1429.15234072
Yuan Q, Ramprasath VR, Harding SV, et al. Diacylglycerol oil reduces body fat but does not alter energy or lipid metabolism in overweight, hypertriglyceridemic women. J Nutr. 2010;140(6):1122-1126.20410085


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